I was able to stay at this resort for a full year (Jan11-Jan12) so I decided to write a review because I have some good information to share with you.
Destin West Bayside has the lazy river as you can see in the picture and 3 heated pools, and 2 hot tubs. Gulf side has 1 heated indoor/outdoor (it doesn’t get much sun but great for the winter months) and 1 huge outdoor pool hot tub, and a gym. You also get to utilize the Ramada Inn's amenities which include room service (even to the bayside!) a large pool with a cool mountain with waterfall and bar inside the mountain, 1 hot tub, and another pool, and a small gym. So as you can see there are plenty of pools if you don’t want to swim in the ocean.
If you have little ones under 4 I would recommend the gulf side because the Ramada has this nice little kids water park area roughly 50ft x50ft (there are no kiddy pools besides this area) and there is an outdoor bar overlooking the gulf about 100 ft away so parents can enjoy themselves also.
If you have kids 4-18 I would definitely recommend the bayside. The lazy rive really is something of its own. Even though it is chilly year round the view you have with all the pools lit up is really nice. The little kids love stacking those inner tubes! It is good for the teens also because they can walk over to the beach or hang out in the Gulf Side pools without mom or dad watching them. There is a great security guard named Jim on the bayside and he will make sure they don’t get into trouble. You can also talk to him and ask him to call you, etc if you want some extra comfort. The walk over to the gulf takes about 5 minutes but it is MUCH safer than trying to run or walk across 98 and you are secluded on the bayside which is nice. There is also a Tom Thumb gas station (open 24 hours) within walking distance from the bayside which comes in handy.
If you are 16-30 it is a split decision where you would want to stay. The Gulf Side has fewer kids and if you are hung over or want to sleep in past 10am each day you would like the Gulf Side better because of fewer kids. In the winter months there are hardly any kids so it doesn’t matter then but over the summer Bayside is definitely filled with kids. I am 24 and I still enjoy the lazy river and the overall view at the bayside is amazing. YOU MUST KNOW THE POOL AREAS CLOSE AT 10PM! This may seem like a burden if you want to stay out late but it really is nice for those trying to sleep or with little ones.
There is an outdoor beach night club(The Swamp), dueling piano bar(Howl at the Moon), and great local bars(my favorite is The Salty Duck b/c it has like 30 beers on tap) nearby within walking distance so don't fret about the 10PM closing time because those places stay open until 4am. You will just have to walk outside of Destin West to find things to do.
Those of you with little kids will LOVE the peace and quiet the place provides after dark. Also, I talked about the night life but Destin West is a very quiet place when it comes to partying and rarely have I seen someone who appeared intoxicated on the pool deck. Even then it was two dads just having a good time and not causing problems.
If you are younger than 35, have a family, or feel like you are 20 I recommend Bayside. I know some people complain about some rooms not having new TVs but there is so much to do and see you shouldn't be inside and if there is a game on there are two GREAT sports bars nearby with Anglers and Helen Back.
I hope you chose to stay at Destin West and feel free to ask me any questions you may have!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Destin West offers the best of many worlds. We encompass both sides of the island, with beautiful views of both the Choctawhatchee Bay and Gulf of Mexico from our family-friendly condos and penthouses. Tired of the sand? Relax on the deck of our large Gulf-side pool while kids enjoy the adjacent Splash Garden. Or float in the Lazy River at our Bay-side tropical pool oasis. We feature villa units all the way to 3 bedroom fully equipped condominiums, all with private balconies. Penthouses feature double decks with roof-top private hot tubs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Destin West Beach And Bay Hotel Fort Walton Beach
- Destin West Beach And Bay Resort Fort Walton Beach, Florida